Rabbi Sacks on the Antidote to Materialism

JInsider (March 2010)

It's fascinating, if you look in the Torah, to see the command that Moses issues immediately before the Golden Calf, and then immediately after the Golden Calf. And the fascinating thing is it's the same command.

What is the command? Shabbat (the Sabbath). Why is the Sabbath the antidote to the Golden Calf? It's obvious. On Shabbos, you can't buy, you can't sell, you can't go into work and make money. On Shabbos, you focus on the things that have value but no price. You focus on home, on your husband or wife, on your children. You spend time together as a family. You spend time together in the synagogue as a community. You learn a little. You pray a little. You thank God for what you have, instead of worrying about what you don't have.

Shabbos is the day when we focus on the value of things and ignore completely the price of things. And that is why Shabbat is the antidote to the Golden Calf. I think at incredible moments of financial insanity, keeping Shabbos is the best way for all of us to stay sane.